San Francisco, California – California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, have announced a sweeping plan to reinvigorate the state and region’s competitive advantage in innovative technology through public-private investments in electric vehicles and other elements of “green” infrastructure. The approach aligns economic and environmental recovery, challenging conventional assumptions that they are at odds with each other.
The group, which also includes the Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Better Place of Palo Alto, defined a vision for encouraging investment in green infrastructure as a means of boosting the state’s competitive advantage, while reducing its independence on oil for transportation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It believes that the move to a sustainable mobility model of electric vehicles, fuelled by renewable energy and beginning in the state’s Bay area, will serve as an economic and environmental stimulus blueprint for the entire country, particularly the lagging automotive sector.
“California is already a world leader in fighting global warming and promoting renewable energy,” Schwarzenegger said. “This type of public-private partnership is exactly what I envisioned when we created the first-ever low carbon fuel standard and when the state enacted the zero emissions vehicle program. This partnership is proof that by working together, we can achieve our goals of creating a healthier planet while boosting our economy at the same time.”
The Bay Area will serve as the first region of California to make the switch from carbon-based transportation to sustainable mobility, and the mayors jointly announced a series of policy initiatives that will begin in December to work with the region’s cities, municipalities, regional government organizations and private sector partners to help shape the region’s economic and environmental future around sustainable mobility.
In conjunction with the news, Better Place, the world’s leading sustainability mobility operator, announced that it would enter the U.S. market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area, with a similar infrastructure investment model that it has in Israel, Denmark and Australia. Network planning and permitting will begin in January 2009, with infrastructure deployment beginning in 2010, and mass market availability of electric cars targeted for 2012. The model, estimated at a total of US$1 billion when fully deployed, allows for fixed battery and battery exchange electric vehicles to operate on the network.